There’s an old Charlie Parker blues ditty called Billie’s Bounce, and I’d like to share two exemplary versions of it.
First, there’s this Max Roach quarter version, featuring George Coleman on sax. Listen to the way Coleman weaves through a few choruses. What’s particularly interesting here is that there’s no piano or guitar on the session, kind of unusual for this era. To my ears, that let’s you hear the pure improvisatory genius of the players, and Coleman in particular rises to the occasion.
But this second version
rocks swings my world even more. It’s George Benson on guitar with Herbie Hancock on piano. Many folks know Benson as a silver-throated crooner, but after Wes M, he’s one of main men on jazz guitar. And Herbie is in rare form, especially harmonically speaking, stretching the chords of this little old blues to the breaking point.
Dig the way he and Benson challenge each other when they trade four bar phrases towards the end.
And do not, under any circumstances miss that last weird chord that Herbie lays down at the very end of the cut—pure Herb (at 6:01—you gotta listen carefully for it but it’s worth it).